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July 13 , 2009

A Crack in the Wall


The characters in A Crack in the Wall share a strong sense of home, whether it is a lifelong sanctuary, or a shell as fragile as the person who inhabits it. A young kleptomaniac ventures outside the shaky walls of her self-imposed confinement. A middle-aged woman pragmatically disposes of a houseful of pets in Calgary before returning to the Maritimes to embark on the next phase of her life. An elderly woman is forced to share her room in a nursing home with an old enemy. The stories explore the vastly different ways in which people deal with blows to the foundations of their lives, with loss. In the title story, “A Crack in the Wall,” a perfect home fractures after the death of a child. And in another, a grieving husband finds the house haunted by ghostly messages attached to the frozen meals left behind by his dying wife. These are ordinary people, abundantly flawed, often recognizing, but still clinging to their weaknesses. A Crack in the Wall takes the reader on a voyeuristic walk down suburban streets, a glimpse into open windows at people yearning for what was, and making their reluctant peace with what is, and what will be.

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